BLACK-CHOPS! Delving deep inside the LS-Three-30
MCM's first ever E30 BMW has been a crazy trip in just one short week, building a mild-looking sleeper packing a 320kW (430hp) punch in a fairly light, dynamic rear-drive package. You can check out the brand new reveal video HERE, but let's run you through the whole mad week's worth of this killer project.
It didn't start off as potent as this, however, with Marty picking up a Japanese-import 320i two-door sedan with a dud engine.
After removing the old single-cam in-line six-cylinder engine and five-speed transmission in Episode 1 (VIEW HERE) the Internet was awash with guesses as to the new powerplant. Given the generous size of the E30's engine bay there have been all sorts of engines thrown into the small Bavarian nuggets over the years, including rotaries, fours, sixes, eights, V10s and even V12s.
The MCM lads decided they didn't have long to build the car so they came up with a list of must-haves for the project to help them pick an engine. They needed decent horsepower to make the car fast; something with common parts availability so they weren't wasting days waiting for the slow post; something they could get quickly in good condition so they didn't have to go to through the hassle of an engine build; and they needed something they could easily screw a bunch more power out of when they want to turn the set-up to 11.
The answer was easy: fit a near-new 6.2-litre LS3. While some people complain that LS swaps are "overdone" the fact is the Gen IV V8s are almost as light as the old 2.5-litre in-line six and make 250% more power than the BMW M20B25.
Marty and MOOG set about fitting the big V8 and six-speed Tremec TR6060 manual transmission at Brintech Customs in Sydney, a specialist shop whose day job for several years now has been engine-swapping and modding BMWs. You can watch the whole swap process HERE (EPISODE 2), but the Brintech kit made it a walk in the park to swap with their engine and transmission mounts, special swap headers and more.
Now, because the show isn't called Mighty Stock Mods that means Marty and MOOG weren't going to leave the LS3 alone. To start with they fitted a single-mass flywheel conversion to replace the stock dual-mass, which should help the alloy V8 rev up a bit quicker, while the exhaust uses twin three-inch pipes and four-into-two-into-one headers and high-flow cats to pull waste gas out, and a cold-air intake pipe sucks fresh atmosphere. A sweet Brintech shifter also tightens up gear-changes.
The LS3 stock oil pan was also biffed and replaced with a gated aftermarket item to ensure better oil control when MOOG drinks too many tofu slurpees and tries to chase down Flurpy The Unicorn for a special Sparkly Cuddle (TM).
As you see in EPISODE 3 (HERE), an AGI roll cage was fitted inside to keep the lads safe, one of dozens which AGI has already designed for a range of different E30 body styles and racing uses. Down the back the lads fitted a Skyline R200 diff and upgraded driveshafts to handle the torque of the GM V8.
EPISODE 4 (HERE) saw how the engine management gurus at Haltech weren't going to let Marty and MOOG ruin their project with a stock ECU so they whacked on one of their LS3 engine looms, Elite 2500 ECUs (with widebands) and plugged into the new V8 Commodore electronic accelerator pedal, before Tuning Fork Page-Upped it to make 270kW at the back wheels.
Inside the E30 has also been treated to maaad mods, with 1980s-era touches like a car computer on which the lads can play Police Quest or whatever games people played in 1990...
While the car's fulfilled its duties for this series of videos it isn't going anywhere - Marty is keen to keep developing the car as a cool street/track/khana machine, so don't be surprised to see the little BMW pop up in future videos...